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Huber, Manuel; Vogelmann, Martin; Leidl, Reiner (2018): Valuing health-related quality of life: systematic variation in health perception. In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 16:156
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Background: Population-based value sets are widely used to transform health states into utilities, but may deviate from actual patient experience. Whether this occurs in a systematic way can be analyzed, in a first step, for respondents who do not report problems on the five domains of the EQ-5D-5L instrument in population studies. Methods: EQ-5D-5L results from three annual cross-sectional surveys (2012, 2013, and 2014) were filtered for participants who reported being problem-free. Continuous visual analog scale (VAS) scores, ranging from 0 (worst imaginable health) to 100 (best imaginable health) were then used to measure their actual health perception and to compare results with the proposed EQ-5D-5L value. A multiple linear regression model was used to identify possible risk factors for low VAS scores. Results: Some 3739 (615%) participants reported being problem-free. Their mean age was 41.1 years and mean VAS score was 91.9. Age and BMI were significantly associated with lower VAS scores. Age groups from 50 years onwards reported VAS means of 90.0 and below. Female gender and low education also had small but significant negative effects on patient experience. The presence of BMI class III as well as diabetes had the greatest negative effect on VAS results (- 9.0 and - 8.4) and reached the range of minimally important differences. Heart disease (- 6.2) and musculoskeletal disease (- 3.4) also had strong negative effects. The 25th percentile of VAS scores in our sample was 90.0, and the 50th percentile was 95.0. Conclusions: For some groups in population studies, especially older people with high BMI and those affected by specific diseases, no problems on all five domains of the EQ-5D-5L fails to reflect the respondents' health perception as measured by the VAS.